PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad & Tobago:--- Caribbean countries are now equipped to better prepare themselves for and minimize damage and loss incurred from natural disasters. This following the recent publication by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) of a new policy brief entitled 'Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Management Strategies in National Development Instruments’.
This timely publication follows on the heels of two major hurricanes, namely Irma and Maria, which devastated several Caribbean islands during the last few months.
Building on ECLAC’s extensive experience in the area of damage and loss assessment, accrued over the years by virtue of its continued support to countries in Latin America and Caribbean, the brief describes the integration of Disaster Risk Management (DRM) into development policies. The publication utilizes information elicited from five member states of the Caribbean Development and Cooperation Committee (CDCC), namely The Bahamas, Belize, Dominican Republic, Haiti and Jamaica.
DRM is the concept and practice of reducing disaster risks through systematic efforts to analyse and manage the causal factors of disasters, including through reduced exposure to hazards, lessened vulnerability of people and property, wise management of land and the environment, and improved preparedness for adverse events.
The policy brief underscores that disasters have more significant effects and impacts in developing countries than in developed countries. On average, the cost of a disaster in low-income countries is equivalent to one percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while in high-income countries it is reduced to 0.25%.
Therefore following a disaster, Caribbean countries face a potentially greater reversal in the economic and social improvements achieved in recent years. ECLAC’s policy brief outlines indicators that can be used to assess the integration of a DRM strategy in the development policies and strategies of the countries of the region.
ECLAC Press Release